By Lethbridge Herald on October 21, 2023.
For many, an up-close encounter with wildlife is just an interesting anecdote to share at the dinner table, but for one local author the chance to help a young owl in her own backyard has inspired a book.
Elementary school teacher Jenna Greene was no stranger to writing when a peek into the world of bird rescue inspired her latest novel, ‘An Owl Without a Name.’
An Author of 10 young adult and children’s books including her latest release, Greene says in the past she has generally written fantasy for older kids. It was teaching early elementary and her daughter, who is seven, that encouraged her to try her hand at writing for a much younger audience.
“When I taught the older grades, I wrote for the older grades,” she says. “And now I teach the younger grades, so I write for the younger grades.”
The story follows the journey of a young owl who is disoriented after falling from a tree and taken to the Birds of Prey Centre in Coaldale, Alberta. Greene says the idea came after her husband discovered a young Great Horned owl caught near a fence on their acreage.
When someone from the rescue organization came to help, they learned the owl was male and his white feathers an indication of his youth rather than his breed. He was taken to the Birds of Prey rescue centre, and though the family visited the centre, Greene’s young daughter was left with unanswered questions about the fate of the owl.
“I know what the event was like for us, but what about for this little owl?” she says. “I explored the idea of what he thought of the situation and what it was like from his point of view of falling from a tree and then being taken somewhere.”
Throughout the book the feathered protagonist spends much of the story searching for his name, hoping an understanding of his identity will clear the confusion and trauma of what he experienced.
Greene says the book, which was released on Oct. 3, has been embraced by the community.
“I think because it’s set at the Alberta Birds of Prey Centre, which is in Coaldale,” she says. “So, Lethbridge, Coaldale, all those areas, they’re like, ‘we know this place.’ And it’s a very accessible story.”
Though ‘An Owl Without a Name’ is Greene’s eighth novel, it is the first to be inspired by her events in her own life.
She says that while the process of writing didn’t vary much from her experiences writing other novels, it was easier to gain momentum and using details from her memory made crafting the early chapters a quicker process. It has inspired her to continue looking at her own experiences and, in the future, between juggling report cards, Christmas concert season, and life as a teacher, she plans to write about her unconventional summer holidays as a child spent studying geology with her family.
‘An Owl Without a Name,’ was published by Wandering Fox a division of Heritage House.